LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - No race is tougher to ferret out than the Kentucky Derby, which at times can seem as perplexing 30 minutes before post time as it is 30 days out.
It can look so easy after the fact, so here we helpfully tell you in advance why the winner will prevail.
Of course we do it for every horse in the field -- as well as explaining why you can't possibly cash a ticket betting that horse.
So let us do the detective work as we case out the Kentucky Derby -- including the perilous exercise of handicapping the Racing Gods.
Notes: Final Fractions reflects how fast the horse ran the last eighth-mile and last three-eighths of a mile in its 1 1/8-mile prep race. The Final Fraction Theory rules out horses who ran the last eighth slower than 13.0 and the last three-eighths in slower than 38.0. Bris and Beyer speed figures are ratings designed to compute how fast a horse ran taking into account track conditions as a means of comparing horses from different tracks and races.
11. BOLT d'ORO (8-1)
Owner: Ruis Racing (Mick and Wendy Ruis)
Trainer: Mick Ruis
Jockey: Victor Espinoza
Last race: 2nd, Santa Anita Derby, Santa Anita Park
Fastest Bris speed figure: 110, Santa Anita Derby
Fastest Beyer speed figure: 103, Front Runner
Final fractions in last race: 13.00, 37.41
Why Bolt d'Oro can win
Think Thunder Gulch, Monarchos and other Derby winners who paid generous prices for being Grade 1 winners who were beaten in their final prep. This is a really, really good horse who never runs a bad race, has proven to be fast enough and versatile enough to be in the hunt whether stalking or closing. He absolutely will appreciate the change of venue to Churchill Downs and its longer stretch — and the fact that Victor Espinoza won't have to ride to react to a single opponent. Javier Castellano, after coming the East to ride in Bolt d'Oro's first two starts this year, decided to stick with him home team and Audible. Derby history is full of jockeys who got off a horse that lost its final prep — only to see him wear the roses with another rider. If you were a Bolt D'Oro fan before, don't get off the bandwagon now. The Racing Gods want to see lightning strike for a blue-collar guy like Ruis, a high school dropout who made a fortune in construction.
Why he won't
After winning his first three races, he's now not finished first in three straight (albeit moved up to victory in the San Felipe). By breaking from post 11, he will be the first to load, along with Firenze Fire on the rail. He's not always broken sharply and he could get swallowed up in traffic. The forecast calls for thunderstorms Oaks Day, not Derby Day.
Victor Espinoza is seeking his fourth Kentucky Derby victory and third in four years (something only Calvin Borel has done). A fourth Derby would tie him with Bill Shoemaker for the second-most wins behind the five won by Eddie Arcaro and Bill Hartack. Owner-trainer Mick Ruis makes his Kentucky Derby debut. The last owner-trainer of a Derby winner was Jack Price with Carry Back in 1961 (though technically Carry Back was owned by Jack's wife, Katherine). Post 11 has produced only two winners in the starting gate era, the last being Winning Colors in 1988. Before that you go back to 1933 and Brokers Tip.